Miami must know how Rodney Dangerfield felt. They are getting no respect.
The Canes have had a rough 28 months with the NCAA sanctions looming heavy over their heads and with recruits opting to go elsewhere, but with a 7-0 record and a 3-0 record in the ACC, the Canes are a 21-point underdog against the Florida State Seminoles this weekend in Tallahassee. The lack of respect is unacceptable. It is time for Miami to win this game outright and reclaim its perch in the top five of the BCS Standings and stake its claim for the right to play for the national title.
"This is the greatest challenge that we have seen all season. We have to invest in this game emotionally, and we will," Miami coach Al Golden said on Sunday. "The rivalry speaks for itself."
Miami is no stranger to big games. At last count, the Canes have won five national football championships and have played in countless games that had significant relevance. Never have they been shown such disrespect as a top-ten ranked team playing in a game that had so much on the line.
Golden has never been one to look at polls or to look at point spreads. That is up to the sports writers and the fans. Golden might have his thoughts on the subject matter, but he will never reveal them publicly.
Golden also added, "I'm not worried about the magnitude of games or anything like that. I plan on being here a long time and facing a lot of these games.
"The stakes get higher as you climb the ladder," Golden said. "There is no more margin for error."
That adage has proven correct as the computer models did not move an undefeated Miami team up in the polls, despite Missouri losing to South Carolina this weekend. There apparently is not a lot of style points in Miami's come from behind win over Wake.
The coach also added on Twitter on Monday, "When I was growing up, and when you start coaching, this is what you dream about." Time to make this dream a reality and make Al Golden a national champion when all is said and done. No one deserves it more. With all of the good will and confidence that he has shown this program in staying here when the lights were flickering, what better "feel good" story would there be in college football than to see Coach Golden win it all.
It is time for Miami to show the country that Hurricane football is back. It is time to wrap up the state title and win the last game against a team from the state of Florida. After defeating FAU, Florida and USF, Florida State would be the final jewel in the crown en route to an ACC or even possible, national, championship.
"We're just trying to work our tails off," Golden said. "This is the greatest challenge that we have seen all season. They are led by the premier quarterback in the country."
Stephen Morris must put his ankle issues aside and show the country that he is the same quarterback that was mentioned as a pre-season Heisman candidate. Before anyone heard of Jameis Winston, Morris was busy showing that he is relevant and that he is the master of the ACC. He must reclaim his position. He must show that he can air the football out and become the same passer that was the MVP at the Manning Passing Academy. Despite having lost Philip Dorsett to injury, he still has Allan Hurns, Stacey Coley and Herb Waters to throw the deep ball to. He needs to show that he can throw the seam route to Clive Walford and continue to let him make big plays.
Morris is ready to go back to Tallahassee and fight for a Hurricane victory.
"As a competitor, you want to win games," Morris said. "We're 7-0 and that is our mentality. We'll be ready."
Golden wanted to establish the run against Wake Forest and they did that with The Duke. Duke Johnson led Miami with 169 yards on 30 carries. The talented sophomore has the ability to put the team on his back, as he did on Saturday, and will this team to victory. When he needs a rest, Dallas Crawford and his team leading ten touchdowns can come in and spell Johnson and pick up valuable first downs. The Noles need to prepare for two ticking time bombs that can score from any space on the field. FSU has not seen a tandem like this this season and they will have their work cut out for them.
This game could come down to the kicking game once again. Everyone remembers "Wide Left" and "Wide Right". One of these games could be labeled "Down the Middle". UM place kicker Matt Goudis did miss kicks in his last two games. He needs to make a few early in the game to get his confidence to new levels. Golden, meanwhile, has nothing but confidence in his kicker.
"We just have to make sure that he follows through when he kicks the ball," Golden said. "He's been excellent in practice. He just has to move forward. I have not lost any confidence in him."